Skateparks hold a place near to my heart. For me, it started with Rampage Indoor Skatepark (RIP) in Davenport, Iowa. I would get dropped off at the park as a 14-year-old by my parents, where I would be left to grind and air until I could no longer move.
As a middle schooler, my good friend, Dan Madesian, started a petition that later lead to a skatepark being built in our hometown of Bettendorf. A few years later, skateparks started popping in surrounding towns like Moline (Illinois), Eldridge, Le Claire, and eventually Davenport.
The 32,000 square foot Davenport Skatepark is one of the premiere skateparks of the Midwest, but the installation of this park called into question one thing for Des Moines residents: why does Iowa’s state capital not have a premiere skatepark as well, when every other large city in Iowa had one (Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City, Mason City, and Ames)?
This question is finally being answered, and in the true spirit of skating, many people have been instrumental in furthering the movement. Local skater and musicians, Justin Runge, aims to reinforce the movement and raise some funds by organizing the Des Moines Skatepark Fundraiser Show slated for July 16 at the Des Moines Social Club. Runge took some time out to answer a few questions about the event.
Bruce Bales: Justin, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions about the Des Moines Skatepark Fundraiser show. Firstly, what was the motivating factor for you to put your time and energy into this cause?
Justin Runge: I’ve been skateboarding for a long time, almost 15+ years and have always been about the music scene in Des Moines. I felt it’d only be right if I utilized my booking/promotional skills to bring back the hype/Buzz the proposed Des Moines Skatepark had when the layout was released and the grounds were set in stone.
BB: Why do you think skateparks are important for a city like Des Moines? As an avid user of skateparks, I know the value, but how would you explain that to people who won’t use the park?
JR: I think the heart of Des Moines is an important place to have a skatepark around because its close and easy for skateboarders to get to. A park this size will be able to hold big stage events such as skate demos, concerts and possibly other fests and events like the ones along the riverwalk. Its something for everyone young and old to enjoy.
BB: What correlations between skating and music have you found over the years?
JR: I feel music and skateboarding go hand in hand. Both are great ways to express and test yourself physically and mentally. When I don’t have music or shows to run or attend, I can always hop on my board and push myself that way.
BB: What was your approach when booking the show? Who are you most excited about?
JR: My approach was to get as many different walks of life, styles of music and art together in one place in hopes it would help open the eyes of the city and the community that we can do anything we put our minds to. Especially if we work together. With musical acts ranging from instrumental, pop punk, emo, hardcore, punk, metal, indie, rock, hip-hop and several others, we have something for everyone to enjoy.
BB: The Des Moines skatepark project has been a long time in the making, how does it feel to have things this close after such a long wait?
JR: I remember being 11 or so and attending meetings with several other middle school kids about the idea in the beginning. So it feels good being able to do something like this for skating, the music scene, the art scene and the city. We’re on the last leg of getting it started. Hopefully this event will open community eyes and we can continue to keep the desire for this project alive.
Video courtesy of Iowa Public Television
Des Moines Social Club
Downtown Des Moines Skatepark Fundraiser
Juliano Allthings Dock
Des Moines Social Club’s Courtyard:
Hunter Dumped Us Here
Make Your Mark
Strengthen What Remains
New X Heart
Signs of Life
Beauty Killed The Beast
More information available here.